The DCEU’s biggest critics may see Aquaman as a step away from the vision and style of Zack Snyder. But apparently, the similarities between James Wan’s recipe for success and Snyder’s extend beyond Arthur Curry – to their dedication to the original comics, above all else.
Patrick Wilson is probably the best equipped to comment on the directing styles of Zack Snyder and James Wan, having portrayed Orm, the brother and royal rival to the two directors’ take on Aquaman. The worlds of Aquaman and Watchmen couldn’t be more different, but both were once hailed as comic book stories “impossible to adapt” to live action. And now that Patrick Wilson has seen how both were captured on film, many will be surprised to hear that the approaches weren’t as different as you might expect.
There were panels of that comic that I loved doing, that I loved being slavish to. I loved standing in front of the–not just because I’m naked, but you could do the screengrab of me looking at the suit. I thought there were some very iconic panels in there that I felt like we just needed. From my perspective we’re usually just getting words, and here I’m given pictures. I thought that was such a useful tool to get inside Dan. There were so many moments of, like, where you see Dan and his smile when he sees Silk Spectre… looking longingly at his outfit and knowing how emasculated he is and that’s the only thing that gives him power.
So for those moments, I love that we’re sticking to the comic. Because I felt like it gave me strength… with Watchmen I was like, ‘Alright I’m going to be slavish to these panels, and I’m going to go to him’ with Zack, and Jackie [Earle Haley] and I would come in some days and say, ‘You know, I love this moment in the comic…’ So from an actor’s perspective I wanted to capitalize on being slavish to it.
Considering that James Wan’s Aquaman takes Zack Snyder’s outlandish spectacle and fantasy to the world beneath the ocean, it makes sense for Patrick Wilson to be right at home.